I just had to share this photo I snapped. Henry is upset that baby Sage gets all of the attention. As I was sitting on the floor trying to photograph Sage, he came up, got right in my face, and reached his paw up to touch my arm. He's such a sweetheart. Love those blue eyes too.
This morning I went to check on kittens and found just Rosemary and Sage in the box. I admit, my first thought was that Floki had eaten Basil... She did kill kittens in her last litter. Then I heard the weak mew coming from under the fish tank stand a couple feet from the box. There was tiny Basil, chilled and weak, but alive. I don't know which cat pulled him out of the nest box, everyone here has their suspicions... It could be Mabel, grandma to this litter, who has attempted to steal Floki's kittens in the past and has started trying to lay in the box with Floki and the babies. It could be NetherQuartz, who takes any opportunity he can to attempt to treat a wandering kitten like a toy (which is why we moved them to a box they couldn't escape from). Or maybe Floki knows there's something wrong and is moving him out of the box? Or moving him to one of the sideways boxes on the fish tank stand and he fell out? I don't know.
I also don't know how long he'd been out on his own. One of his little toes is swollen, he's got little marks all over him now, and I strongly suspect one of the ladies moved him out of the box and then NetherQuartz tried to "play" with him.
I warmed him back up with my hands before returning him to his sisters, who welcomed him immediately by piling all over him and then sleeping in a heap together.
I again held him to assure that he got some nursing time without his big sisters knocking him down. He always seems to do so well, latching on, good suction, but never any swallowing motions. Below was the photo I took after I snuck my hand away from supporting him and blocking his sisters. They all seemed to be asleep but still attached to momma. The size difference is becoming painfully obvious. Basil is minuscule compared to plump Sage.
I went off to do some housework and returned a bit later to find Basil nursing of his own accord. No assistance and he'd found and held a teat against his sisters! Mind it was one of the front ones with less milk, but all the same, my hopes rose. I really hope this little one pulls through... though every ounce of logic and past experience tells me he doesn't stand a chance.
I did take another brief video today. I suspect it may be the last with three kittens in it. Basil can't hold out forever, and he's so thin now that I have to wonder how he's even here with us still tonight as I type this up before bed. Tony insists he's "looking stronger" and seems "more active" tonight, but I don't see it. I would absolutely love to see Basil grow up and be a spunky, playful, loving soul. I want so badly to see how he does with his bad leg and his nub tail. I want to see if his coat develops colors later or if he will stay white. I want to see him open his eyes, to play with toys, to pounce and play with his sisters.
Tonight I weighed each of the kittens. Sage is 4 ounces, Rosemary is 3 ounces, and Basil is 2 ounces. Why is there such a drastic difference between 2 and 3 ounces, but not between 3 and 4 ounces? Either way, here's the video from today - complete with a cameo from Mabel (their Rex grandma). She saw the box was empty and came to see what I was doing with them.
After completing most of the house chores, I sat down to work more on #5's bag. I got to the point where I could go no farther without the next color, so I texted Tony to let him know what I needed.
When he got home late tonight after working a close shift, I quick did the last four rounds with the new colors. The bag itself is complete. Now I just need to make and attach the straps (they will also be matching Ninja Turtle colors). What a cool creation - and even cooler that I made it up myself. No pattern, no Pintrest photo... just an idea in my head! I hope the straps work the way I think they should.
This bag now measures 17 inches wide by 17 inches deep. It took almost an entire skein of yarn to produce over three days (so far). Tomorrow I plan to do the straps and get a finished photo. Then onward to #4's bag (which I already started while waiting for Tony to bring home the new yarn). Hers will be a cross-body purse with flap and button/loop closure made from variegated pink/purple/blue yarn.
Rosemary has one eye peeking open, and Sage is working on both eyes peeking. Little Basil is still with us as of bedtime tonight. His eyes remain closed for now. This is really early to have eyes starting to open, so I'm not sure what to think of it.
Sage has a dark mark over her nose and under her chin. I suspect this isn't coloring, but instead damage from falling off the cat tree before I was able to convince Floki to keep the babies in a box on the floor.
Today is Floki's third birthday. Happy birthday Floki! She was the runt of the Viking litter, and the sole survivor after her sister (Lagertha) died at 11 weeks old due to a bad reaction to a vaccination. Both of her brothers (Rollo and Ragnar) died as babies (Rollo had birth complications and Henry smothered Ragnar because I felt bad for them and put a blanket in the box).
I am continuing to make progress with the bag for #5 that I am crocheting with his green yarn. He has asked to have the top rim done in a variegated yarn he found in my closet. He also wants two handles, so it will be more like a toy tote and less like a bag. I guess that means I won't have to create a flap like I put on my purse. That could save me some time!
The green bag is currently 8-1/4" deep by 17 inches wide. When I'm done I'm hoping to make it at least 12-16 inches tall. It has to fit all of his Ninja Turtles toys, including both of his TMNT vehicles and all of his actual turtles and their accessories. When I'm done with this project, I think I will try making a purse for #3 or #4 next. If nothing else, it's giving me a sense of purpose in an otherwise stressful time frame.
Quick update tonight since it's late and I need to get to bed.
I've been active on Listia lately. I've won auctions for orange marigold, manzano chile pepper, Mr Majestic marigold, Rebel Yell tomato, Coastal Gazania Treasure Stars Flame, and Hopi Red Dye Amaranth seeds, as well as a sun prism for #1 (the kind that throws light into rainbows across your room).
The Silver Rose garlic is finally coming up. It's growing much slower than the garlic I planted in a cup last year (whatever happened to that cup anyway... I think it got lost in all the shuffling between house and hotel and then moving).
The window herb garden project has been slightly delayed. I got the gravel into the bottom of three bottles, and then filled them with soil. I just haven't quite gotten to adding the seeds and putting plastic over them until said seeds come up. Here's what it's looking like right now in the kitchen window... Soon enough we will have basil, rosemary, and thyme in these bottles. I have two more waiting for gravel and soil, but I kind of want to wait and see how these three do before getting too many going.
Zombie was looking a lot better this morning, but by this afternoon she'd chewed her tail raw again. I'm afraid she's going to have to go to the vet this time. Miss Floki is getting round, but not extremely round. I'm hoping she gives us more than one or two kittens, and that they survive. Fingers crossed.
Welcome to February! Not much to report today. I sanitized the litter boxes for the indoor cats (which we do roughly once a week just to make sure they're good and clean).
Today Tony brought home a small dog kennel that we have set up in the entryway. It's already -15 out (windchill -30) and it's supposed to get colder yet tonight. The forecast shows double digit negatives on Saturday night and possibly Monday night too. We can't have the barn cats in the entry way running loose anymore, as they don't have the best house-manners (they are barn cats after all). So tonight I set up the new metal crate, used the separator wall as a shelf, lined it with cardboard, and added a litter box to the bottom. The cats will be staying in this more confined space, in the entry way, on the especially cold nights. Next year we will have a better insulated shelter for them out in the barn and they'll be full grown by then, so it won't be such an issue. They're still kittens now, so I worry when it gets this cold and they're in the barn with no insulation or heat.
I have been using this website where you can buy and sell stuff to earn or spend credits rather than real money. If you're interested in joining, check it out HERE. Recently I've bought cow horn okra seeds, Giraffe and Minerva amaryllis seeds, Siberian (dark purple) Iris seeds, a topaz ring, fire and ice hosta seeds, sinister minister tomato seeds, white ghost (bhut jolokia) pepper seeds, lavender Rose of Sharon seeds, and a live philodendron plant (which I hope makes it safely through the cold weather). You can fill out surveys to earn credits, so I've been doing that in my spare time. I could always sell some stuff on there too, but I find it easier not to have to deal with shipping and postage. Surveys it is!
I also hit up some eBay penny auctions. Of course some of them I thought were especially neat finds, so I paid a little more for them prices were 1-cent up to $1.35 per listing). Coming from eBay we should be getting Saturn Peach pepper, Electric mix morning glory, moss rose, naughty boy gourd, wizard coleus, Dusty Miller, white muskmelon, painted tongue, Brighton Rock snapdragon, cypress vine, Farewell to Spring, and Love Lies Bleeding (red) amaranth seeds, in addition to a claw ring, and some mini foam mushrooms (to decorate potted plants).
Total investment for everything (eBay and the freebie finds bought with credits): $10.08. Just over ten bucks for six edible varieties, fourteen flower or ornamental varieties, one houseplant, two rings, and a bunch of little mushroom decorations. Oh, and I got a "random lot" of seeds from the freebie site too, so it'll be interesting to see what they send.
If nothing else, #3 is enjoying the sudden influx of flower varieties. I've never been one to actively seek out flower varieties. I have planted marigolds and zinnias in a scatter garden purely to attract pollinators to my vegetable garden, but now that we have moved to the homestead, I think it's time to do more with flowers. Since #3 has taken over the flower collection, I'm hoping she can focus her attention on researching some of her favorite varieties and maybe find some places throughout the property to start adding in both annual and perennial flower areas. I would love it if we could get some patches of annuals to self-seed every year and become big patches of flowers over time. Even if it's off further into the property where we don't always frequent. There's a clearing further off to the north west of the property and it's hard to get to. This would be a great space to add flowers to. It would encourage pollinators, not just in the yard and areas we frequent, but in the area in general. If we could do wildflowers or something that will self-seed year after year to naturalize, even better!
Oh the ideas!!!
It was just below freezing at the warm point today. I put the barn kitties out, where they should be safe to stay out for the foreseeable future. No negatives in the forecast for a while anyway. I have reclaimed my entry way again, and have cleaned out the litter box once more.
I got a few more earrings listed up in the Bonanza shop. There are many more to come, but at least there's some progress.
I didn't work on the scarf today. I'm hoping to get out tomorrow and get updated weights on some of the remaining for sale bunnies. I did manage to make a dent in the laundry... One basket still needs to be folded and put away, and there's one load left waiting on the load in the washer and the load in the dryer to be progressed when they're ready. Which means tomorrow I may actually be caught up on laundry!
I made dinner tonight on the stove top. Not something I typically do, as I'm terrible at multitasking. First I made rice. Then I cooked a mesquite barbecue pork loin, adding more BBQ sauce and some water (cooked it covered in a pan on the stove top). When that reached temp, I set it aside to "rest" and proceeded to cook sliced carrots, diced bell pepper, and a can of green beans in the sauce left behind. When that was almost done, I cut up a bunch of the pork loin and tossed it back in. It looked and smelled good anyway.
I served it over the rice. The kids ate it, and said it was good. #1 even said "If you made this again, I'd eat it." Yay! The rice was cold, but otherwise the meal was decent. There was a little heat left from the original seasoning on the pork loin, but it wasn't bad. Overall, a good meal! I'm getting better at this whole cooking-with-what-you've-got theme!
With all of the other family drama going on behind the scenes, I've missed out on posting about our dear little Floki. She's showing signs that she could be pregnant! I'm a little confused about the timeline. She's getting some nipple development, which means she should be somewhere in week 3-4. I knew I should have written it down when breeding was witnessed, but I completely forgot. I swear it wasn't that long ago (more like 1-2 weeks ago). If she is 3-4 weeks along, she should be due somewhere in the range of February 6-13. If I'm right and she was bred one to two weeks ago, that would mean kittens in the time frame of February 27 to March 6.
The potential mom-to-be is Floki (above) and the would-be father-to-be is Henry (below). Floki is a dilute calico with bi-colored eyes (one blue, one green). Henry is blue and white with blue eyes. Because both carry for Rex genetics, there's a 25% chance of rex showing up in the litter. All kits should be blue and white, dilute calico, or cream colored.
That said, we've had false starts before. It's possible that this breeding will not conclude with kittens, but we're hoping for some anyway.
I got the mug I ordered for my brother today in the mail. He's going to love it. It's got a picture of his dog on it.
I'm still waiting on the phone case I ordered for myself. If you're interested in checking out some of my designs, please feel free to visit our RedBubble shop. I've got all kinds of designs and I'm often adding more. You can get stickers, shirts, pillows, phone cases, coffee mugs, and all kinds of other stuff with our art or photos. The phone case I ordered should be here on Monday.
We lost another duck today, though not to predator. This cold spell has been brutal. I'm told the remaining guinea isn't looking well either. The metal inside the Quonset is covered in frost. I wonder how much of this is because of the cold and how much is because I moved the water dish indoors while we closed everything up after the holiday duck murders.
We still have yet to trap anything in the live trap. Tonight we're expecting -23, and tomorrow night -16. From there on it looks a little better for lows, even possibly touching above freezing in mid January (though that's far off and bound to change). The barn kitties have been locked up in the entry way for what seems like forever now. It does make it much easier to feed and water them, but they lack litter box skills and have already destroyed a couple pairs of shoes and we're going to have to do some cleaning and sanitizing once it's warm enough to clean without everything freezing. Better than frozen kittens though.
I worry about letting the kitties stay outside at night when it warms up a bit. If something was big enough to attack and kill a duck, they're more than big enough to catch and kill a half-grown barn cat. On the other hand, we got them to be barn cats, and what good are they doing being locked up in the entry way every night? I don't know what to do. They have to be out during the day. They're seriously going stir crazy in the entry way. I mean, it's pretty decent size, but it's not as big as the barn, and certainly doesn't offer them the opportunity to climb trees and play in the snow and chase each other around the yard. So how do I weigh in between safety from predators and cold, versus freedom to do what they're meant to do? Maybe I'm just not in the right state of mind for a barn cat. I still see them as pets and parts of our family. There's no disconnect. If they go missing or get killed, I will never forgive myself. But at the same time, our indoor cats will not accept another into their group, and my husband already says we have too many in the house (and I agree), so they can't come in beyond the entry way.
So, I'm hoping we can catch the duck killer in the next couple of days, so I can feel safer letting the cats out to play when it finally warms up a little out there.
We woke up to a light layer of snow outside. Enough to coat the car, but not hide the leaves on the ground. It's interesting to see where all of the duck and goose foot prints lead around the yard, and where the main traffic is. It never occurred to me how much bigger Josh's goose feet are than the ducks' feet until I was looking at the prints in the snow today.
Well, I didn't get to slaughtering today either. Instead I took the last two from the big grow out cage and brought them to the basement with the other three. Yes, I now have five semi-adult rabbits living in my basement until I can get to actually processing them. Then I moved all the remaining weaned buck kits from the U and V litters, and little Boon (who isn't so little anymore) to the now empty buck grow out pen. The idea being that now (or once the five in the basement go), the three cages that now only have one momma rabbit and no additional babies, will go from a full bin of food to a measured amount of food, thus saving me money on my food bill. In the meantime, I have five rabbits enjoying the warmth in my basement.
On the good side, Luna started using her foot again a few days ago. That's a good sign. I was starting to worry about her, but she kept using it to climb trees and the screen door, and then not walking on it, but then using it to jump up and down off shelves in the bunny barn. She must be feeling better now.
We got one brown egg today in the nest box (Henrietta).
I had an idea to make some crochet coasters, but I wanted to see how well they'd work first. I made my first prototype. It looks nice, good size, but I haven't had any spills or any condensation to really test it. I do like the idea of it being washable though. Then when I did a Google search, come to find out crochet coasters are a thing - and they come in all kinds of cutesy designs if you know how to read a pattern (which I don't). So my double thick squares are a bit different than the ones I'm seeing. Maybe I'm on to something.
In the mail today I got the seed swap seeds back. I was pleasantly surprised that about half of the seeds are new-to-me varieties (a real challenge considering our extensive collection). I have updated the seed list accordingly. Thank you to those who participated in the swap this year! I'm certainly going to be planting some of these next year!
And a wild thought. I know there are "YouTube celebrities" out there that are famous for playing video games - which for some reason people find more interesting to watch than playing the games themselves... And there are plenty of how-to videos, and videos of some pretty mundane things too. I wonder if there would be any interest in doing a long video of just me crocheting something. I suppose it would be the crafter's version of the gaming craze - watching someone else make something. Why not? If I had a quiet moment to do it, I wouldn't mind, but my house tends to be loud and a lot going on at any given time (I do have a three year old after all).
Wednesday is Christmas Cookie Baking Day... The day when my mom and her sisters, and I all get together and bake our Christmas cookies all together, then split them up and bring them all home. It's always something I've kind of looked forward to, but with my recent dietary issues (seriously, I'm practically allergic to digestion at this point), it means I'll have to really limit myself on what I taste, and since almost every recipe calls for some kind of dairy product... well, it might not be as fun this year as in previous years. Maybe next year I will remember to ask about substituting Lactaid instead of cow milk - but this year the ingredients have already been purchased. It should be a fun day anyway as I will have #5 with me - and he loves to help! I just hope my aunts can have some patience with him as he tries to help in his own way. They don't believe in Aspergers, which makes it that much harder to prevent or deal with outbursts and meltdowns. Oh well, We will be going home with cookies, so it's all good.
Little Wisp has been confirmed as a doe. Yay! So now the little shelved litter is Willy, Wonka, and Wisp. Too cute!
Today the bunnies have been hard at work digging holes in their fenced yard. I can't imagine any grass is going to regrow in there next year at this rate. At least three times one of the kids or I went out and refilled the holes to keep them from digging out. The last time I shoveled them full, packed them down, and put a brick over the two places they're particularly drawn to. Then we added a stick from under the apple tree to give them something to chew on to perhaps distract them. Seems to have curbed the digging, at least a little.
Boss Lady is now sitting on seven brown eggs. Henrietta must be going in and laying one every day and Boss Lady just keeps adopting them. Some more seasoned chicken keepers have suggested that I mark the eggs she's sitting on, and daily remove any new eggs. The idea being that she will only sit on the eggs for so long once the first ones start to hatch, so if she has too many, she will end up abandoning the last eggs, literally right before they're ready to hatch. Guess I'll be doing that tomorrow.
Which brings me to tomorrow. Starting about 2am it's supposed to start raining, turning to snow around 4pm and snowing straight through until 10pm. We are anticipating 1-3 inches of snow. In the weeks to come our low temps will start to be in the negative numbers.
No matter how many years I've lived in Minnesota (my entire life), I never feel quite prepared for the bitter cold when winter finally rolls in.
Yesterday little Babylon had in injury to her nose. I'm not sure if she got pecked by a chicken, bit by another rabbit, or if she cut it some other way. It's scabbed up and swollen. Poor baby. I make a point to spend several minutes every day cuddling with her. She's so calm, she cuddles right in, and she really seems to be happy when I put my hand over her ears to warm them. She's such a sweet little girl. Hopefully her nose heals up quickly, because she's got a home lined up for her when the younger litter is ready to go (I think she's going to live with Willy in her new home, and Willy won't be ready to go until Christmas Eve).
The lady we bought Josh, Tweak, and Leonardo from sent me a message today. She has five more Indian Runner (or Indian Runner cross) ducks that she wants to rehome. They're young, so we won't know gender, and permanent color isn't in yet. Looks like three brown, one that could be mallard colored (green head), and one black and white splashed (mixed breed). I'm so excited to get more ducks! I really hope that it brings some more females into the flock. Poor Dashi is the only girl duck right now.
Yesterday when Tony got home, as he walked in the door, with an arm full of stuff from the van, he went to close the door, not realizing that Luna was perched on top of it. She managed to smush her paw, but seemed fine initially. Today she's limping, and bites when I try to peek at her feet. It's not at an odd angle, but there is a distinct line in her fur where the door caught her. I'm going to watch her for another day or two to see if she gets better on her own. She is still able to jump up on the shelf where the bed and food and water bowls are in the barn, and back down to go potty. I'm hoping she's just sore and will recover if given some time. I know when I slam my finger in a door it hurts for several days, so I'm thinking that's what we're dealing with here as well.
And as is a daily (or rather nightly) occurrence now, the two barn kitties come in every night when I go out to turn off the chicken coop light. They sleep in the entry way and go back out in the morning. I'm so glad they figured out the litter box!
In a wonderful turn of events, our dear Lady Mo has returned! She had dug a big hole and then back-filled it, so it looked like freshly dug ground, but there was no hole to be found. She came out of her tunnel this morning. She's missing the fur between her front legs and some down her belly. I know she's got kits down there, but I have no way of getting to them. I hope they survive largely on their own. I will let nature take care of this one. Lady Mo came in and ate, she's been with the coop herd all day, and as of this afternoon she and the nursing momma took turns burying the hole again. Tonight Lady Mo is in the coop with the other rabbits. She has made no attempt to reopen the tunnel since this afternoon. I waited until well past dark to close up the coop to give her every opportunity I could to go and nurse them this evening. I have no way of checking on them to see if they're even alive or not. Frustrating, but part of raising rabbits in a colony with dirt available for digging.
Since her triumphant return, Lady Mo has spent a lot of her time chasing the spotted doe around. The spotted doe came from a different place, so isn't one that Lady Mo originally came here with, but they had largely worked out their differences prior to Lady Mo's disappearance a few days ago. The spotted doe is the mother of the three young kits still being shelved. She will not nurse them though, so they are being nursed on MoR, the other Dutch cross doe (Lady Mo's sister). For some reason, Lady Mo does not like the spotted doe.
In turn, the spotted doe spent most of her afternoon trying to sneak out to the yard to mess with the nest hole. Several times MoR or Lady Mo came and chased her away, before they finally filled the hole in.
I'm all for giving second chances, but if the spotted doe doesn't step it up next litter, she's going to have to go. It was her first litter, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, but if the other doe doesn't like her, and she isn't a good momma, there's no reason to keep her around. I'd just as soon put Boon's momma back in there and just have the three Dutch cross sisters as the entire female force of the colony.
The three older shelved kits that were returned to the coop yesterday are doing well. All three can now get up the big step behind the coop door, and they have discovered the water dish. Though Machu Picchu doesn't quite understand the concept. He did figure out how to drink while standing outside the bowl when I filled the bowl completely full again. They sure do know how to make their dish dirty too! It was clean when I filled it this morning, but then one of the rabbits decided to dig next to it and kicked dirt in it. I had to clean it out again to refill it this evening. They're still not as messy as the ducks though. The ducks will leave mud in the bottom of the water dish every day. Theirs has to be cleaned out constantly!
Tony, #3, and I added chicken wire around the bottom portion of the kennel fencing to keep the ruins litter in. They could walk right out through the kennel bars. A note here - if you decided to do a system like this, please remember that chicken wire will not protect your animals from predators! A predator can easily tear through chicken wire! We added it strictly as a way to keep baby bunnies in. The kennel itself is the predator protection.
While we worked on the coop, Sterling and Turducken patrolled the area. He's our dominant rooster and he watches over his hens all day long. He's such a handsome boy. Still no idea what breed he is, but he's handsome. And what big comb and waddles he has! Unfortunately the tips of his comb look like he's gotten frostbite. Odd since we haven't had any really horribly cold nights yet. A few quick searches brings up the best prevention - choosing breeds with small waddle and combs for northern keepers. Well, guess we failed there.
Our other big rooster is Big Red, and he has nearly caught up with Sterling on size. He's still a smidge smaller. Big Red would like to be the dominant rooster, and has tried a few times to breed with the hens, but Sterling is quick to chase him away as soon as he starts harassing the ladies. So Big Red bides his time with Phil. Largely, I believe, because Phil is submissive and lets Big Red crow and strut and eat first in the bunny barn.
Then there's little Phil. He's clearly some sort of cochin or whatever people call miniature or dwarf chickens. He's got feathered legs and he's about the size of the two silkie roosters. Phil can fly though, which the silkie roos can not. The silkie roosters spend their days in the coop or in the yard attached to the coop, unable to fly over the four foot fence to free range. Phil spends his days free ranging the yard, or hanging out in the bunny barn during bad weather. He roosts up in the rafters or on the end of the garage door track. He doesn't go to the chicken coop, and doesn't interact with the hens ever. He does seem to hang out with Big Red, or maybe Big Red hangs out with him. Sometimes it's hard to tell who is leading and who is following.
Phil is great fun to watch. When he runs he kicks his feet out slightly to the sides, and with his leg feathers, it almost looks like he's dancing while wearing bell bottoms. He's a sweet rooster though, and is easy to catch and handle (though he's not happy about it). This makes him my favorite (but shhh - don't tell Sterling).
Turducken is an interesting bird. She's smaller than our other two hens. Henrietta is a barred rock, and Boss Lady is an Easter Egger. Turducken is a naked neck (also known as a turken). My initial chicken research last year had me believe that naked necks were only good for meat production, but Turducken lays eggs almost every day. She's not very big, which would seem counter productive to use her as a meat bird. In the photo below you can see her free ranging next to the fence, and one of the silkie roosters in the pen. They're roughly the same size (about 15 inches if measuring based on the height of the fence). And of course Kin, the rabbit, is in there too, but he's rather large.
The entire time I'm working on bunny and chicken chores, Moose follows me around, dropping his frisbee at my feet. This dog loves nothing in the world more than chasing a frisbee. Today I was blindly throwing the frisbee to get him away while I was working on connecting the chicken wire to the kennel, and apparently he was too focused on the frisbee... He ran over Luna on his blind chase to retrieve the frisbee. She wasn't hurt, just startled. I was more careful about what direction I was throwing it from then on. He will literally chase the frisbee until he's so out of breath he can hardly breath, frothing drool, and will still want me to throw it again. We have to play in moderation so he doesn't end up giving himself a heart attack or something.
The barn kitties have been spending their nights in the porch. They have access to a water bowl and a litter box, and a cardboard box to sleep in. It's insulated but not heated. They choose this over the barn that is not insulated or heated, but has food and water and a cardboard box with blankets to snuggle in. It's not even that cold tonight, but after evening chores were done they were quick to follow me in for the night.
The views over the lake today were nice. While today was mostly cloudy, I got a few nice scenic shots.
And sunset was beautiful, as it tends to be here on our little piece of heaven. It's hard not to feel completely blessed every single day here. The beauty of Mother Nature is found in everything here, if you just look. And sometimes, the sunset just takes your breath away. Today it was bright pink with purple clouds.
I'm not sure how I lost today. Seems like the whole day just slipped by me. I did manage to clean the bathtub, and the cooler, but I didn't get to dispatching Charlotte today. I will do that tomorrow as soon as the temperature is above freezing. She's still eating and drinking, but she looks miserable. My poor girl.
We are getting eggs left and right, and I'm sure now we're getting 3-4 every day... considering we only have three hens, this is weird to say the least. The kids have finally decided that instead of hoarding the eggs, they'll eat them. They've learned to make scrambled eggs in the microwave, so they don't have to use the stove. Now they eat them almost every day. #5 asks specifically for scrambled eggs and even picks out which egg(s) he'd like. It's nice to have a fresh source of protein available for them that is shelf stable and I know it's humanely raised.
This week will be a short week for the kids. They've got Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving. That should be interesting. We plan on having Thanksgiving with my parents (as we usually do), but then Tony works at 5:30am for Black Friday. Yuck. No staying late at my parents' house for games in the evening I guess. Weirdest part for me is that this will be the first year that we can't watch the Macy's parade. I mean, we've skipped it before, but it was always an option. We could watch it on tv or get up early enough to run over to my parents' house to watch on their television. This year that won't be possible. It's strange to know that even though we didn't always watch it before, now it's just not available.
And neither is the dog show afterwards! Oh my, that's the one I like to see! We always root for the breeds we've shared in our households, and I always admire some of the rarer breeds that I'm never likely to get to see in real life. I always thought maybe a hairless dog would be in our future at some point. I mean, we've had hairless rats, we've got hairless cats, so it would be a reasonable next step to have a hairless dog, right? But now that we actually have the homestead and the space, I've decided a hairless dog wouldn't have fun here. They'd be so cold all winter long, and they wouldn't be able to stay outside while I did barn chores because even with a sweater, they'd get too cold. That's not fair to the dog. Now I've shifted to livestock guardian dogs. Maremma, Great Pyrenees, or even a Carpathian Shepherd dog (good luck finding that breed in the US). That, of course, is well into the future and not something I'm focused on right now.
After allowing the barn kitties to spend two of the colder nights in the unheated entry way, they now think that any cold night they should be able to be in there. So tonight, as I went out to refill Charlotte's water dish one more time before bed and turn off the chicken coop light, Gypsy and Luna were at the door waiting. As soon as I opened it, they bolted in and went straight to the box that is their bed in there. Not worth fighting with them. It's kind of nice to be able to play with them in the morning on my way out to bring baby bunnies out for their morning feeding. They don't get food or water in the entryway, so I'm not entirely sure why they seem to like it so much. They have a box with a blanket and a sheltered feeding station out in the barn, and tonight isn't even supposed to be that cold (22 degrees for the low). What are they going to do when the high temsp are well below zero in February? I think they've forgotten they are barn cats. Both were born and raised as barn cats, so it's not like they've ever known about being a house cat. And make no mistake, our Rex queen, Mabel, would not allow them into the house. She's queen for a reason, and she tolerates no newcomers. But our house cats don't go in the entry way. Like I said, it's unheated, and our prim and proper hairless and rex cats don't do well in cold.
That reminds me, Mabel has been vomiting lately, and spending a lot of time curled up (in the laundry basket, on top of the shelf, on the kitty tree, on top of the dryer). I suspect she could be pregnant. Fingers crossed! It's been a long time since she's had kittens.
And now I'm off to take a late night shower, since all of the kids are asleep for the night, my husband has gone off to bed, and I am finally alone and the house is quiet. Oh sweet silence!
Today was warmer than yesterday. The kitties left the entry way this afternoon to rejoin the barn critters.
Two eggs from the chicken coop today, and this morning the momma bunny of the shelved litter didn't make me chase her around. She was actually in the nest tote waiting for me!
I really did absolutely nothing remarkable today.
I'm glad it's Friday and that Tony has this weekend off. I've been feeling overwhelmed and it's good to have him around once in a while to help. I plan on sleeping in tomorrow morning. Well, somewhat. I still have to be up at 7am to turn on the chicken light and open the coop and the bunny barn to let all the birds out. Maybe Tony would be nice and get that done for me. If not, perhaps I can curl back up for another hour under the warm covers before I start my day.
We had a beautiful sunrise today. The photo below was taken just before 7am.
This afternoon I spent almost four hours outside doing yard chores ahead of the cold weather coming in tonight and tomorrow. All the buckets in the photo above from our container garden this year are now put away for the winter. The other remaining buckets that were scattered around in front of the garage, and near the door have also been taken care of. The tools and fencing are put away, the tomato cage set off with the buckets in anticipation of next gardening season, and the last of the rabbit items that were in the garage have been moved to the bunny barn.
Low tonight is 8 degrees, and the high tomorrow is 18 degrees. Brrr!!! I may have to bribe a kid to do the bunny and chicken chores. After I type this up, I'm going to go set up the entry way for the barn cats and bring them in for the night. While I know the barn is safe, they have an enclosed area with hay and a blanket to snuggle up, they're both very young and small yet, and I want to give them the opportunity to stay at least a little warmer. The entry way will at least keep them above freezing for the night, but they'll have to go back out at some point (remember, they're barn cats - no litter box comprehension). Maybe Tony will take pity on them and let them stay in until Friday when it warms up to a high of 24 degrees.
I had all the bunnies fed, the dishes washed, and was sitting down with a cup of coffee before 10am. The three shelved bunnies in the house are doing well. Their momma is not friendly though, and it gets harder and harder every feeding to catch her. She now runs and thumps at me, dodging behind and under things. When I finally catch her she kicks and flails. She's a pain in the butt. It's a good thing her babies are a lot nicer.
I made the outside kitties happy today. I added a blanket to one of their nest boxes. It has pine shavings and hay in it before, but they like it a lot more with the blanket to snuggle with. I figure they need to keep those little paws warm in the cold weather coming this week (which will only get worse as winter drags on).
Amanda's blog about everything, important and trivial.